Liverpool Spurs Preview – Painful memories


Spurs travel to Anfield this weekend in the return fixture of the match that defined our season. Back on 15th December Tottenham lost 5-0 at White Hart Lane. Within 24 hours, manager Andre Villas Boas had been sacked. There were mitigating circumstances – injury problems that led to us fielding Capoue at centre back, Paulinho’s 63rd minute red card and Sandro having to go off injured after half an hour – but a series of poor performances saw Daniel Levy wield the axe.

Liverpool are having a fantastic season. They lie second, just one point off the top, having transformed themselves from seventh placed also-rans, to genuine title contenders. Brendan Rodgers must take much of the credit in his second season at the Merseyside club. He has shown pragmatism in adapting his tactics and has bought well. His team are in great form at present, having won their last seven league games and are unbeaten in 12. Spurs sit 12 points and four places further back, with a staggering 45 worse goal difference.

The most impressive things about the Liverpool renaissance has been their attacking form. Rodgers has married his passing and possession based principals, with a more direct, counter attacking approach. This can be seen in the differences in their average game statistics between last year and this.

Since last season, their average possession has gone down from 57.2% to 54.5%. Short passes have fallen from 475 per game to 456. Through balls have jumped from 3 to 5 a game, whilst the percentage of goals categorised as resulting from counter attacks has increased dramatically from 1.4% to 9.5%. Their set piece percentages have also improved.

Liverpool’s strongest asset is their two front men, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, who sit first and second in this season’s Premier League scoring charts. Suarez also leads the league in assists after a superlative season. The forwards are ably supported by Philippe Countinho, playing in a creative role just behind the front two, and a rejuvenated Steven Gerrard in central midfield.

If they have a weakness, it is in defence. If Spurs can contain their attack – and it’s a big if – then they should be able to create chances at the other end of the pitch. Liverpool have been particularly weak at defending on the flanks, so this might be a lucrative area to apply pressure to.

Tottenham will look to build on the comeback victory against Southampton. Kyle Walker is still sidelined for the trip up north, along with long term injury victims Lamela and Capoue. Vlad Chriches made it through 90 minutes with the under 21s on Friday, so will also miss out, but may return in the near future. The biggest uncertainty surrounds Adebayor. Having missed the last two games with a cut foot, he may not be risked.

The key against Liverpool will be to play a more cautious line up and, especially considering their danger on the counter attack and propensity towards through balls, dispense with the high defensive line. I would therefore play Sandro in a holding role. I have been really disappointed with Rose in recent game, so would play Fryers at left back.

Liverpool are kind of the rich man’s Southampton and Sigurdsson’s pressing in midfield was very effective in the second half last week. This will come in handy against such an attacking team, so I would start him here.

Given Liverpool’s weakness at defending out wide, I would play two orthodox wingers. Lennon continues to show poor form, so I would go with Towsend and Chadli. I would move Eriksen to the centre. We can’t afford to play him on the left as this will leave whoever plays at left back very exposed.

Here is my team:

Liverpool Spurs team

Do you agree? Let me know your team and thoughts in the comments below.

Liverpool are strong favourites at 1.48, the draw is 5.1, while Spurs are out at 7.4.

Discuss it with me on Twitter: @ABPSpurs





5 thoughts on “Liverpool Spurs Preview – Painful memories

  1. OC7

    Yes, Rose has been garbage for a while, too careless in possession and frequently caught out of position when defending. I don’t see what he offers, and besides I think Fryers has done well when he’s played. Rose sucks up to Sherwood though and I think he likes him.

    I like that line-up; although I would quite like to see Chadli playing as more of a second striker alongside Soldado and with Townsend given strict instructions to stay wide, perhaps alternating between right and left flank.

    Is Sandro an automatic pick? He hasn’t been quite himself in recent weeks, I’m not so sure, maybe Paulinho and Bentaleb would be better foils for Eriksen today?

    1. AnythingButPenalties Post author

      Thanks for the comment.

      Sandro hasn’t been as good since he came back from injury but I choose him here because I think, of our midfielders, he is the most disciplined defensively.

      Chadli does give us some height in the centre and I can see your point. I moved him out wide partly for defensive reasons as I think his physical presence may help out protect Naughton, and because Liverpool’s fullbacks can be got at.

  2. OC7

    Well that was a load of shit. How do they do it, every single time?! It used to just be Dembele and Sandro that would save their cock ups for the big games but now it’s infected the rest of the squad.

    The worst thing is that everyone was talking their chances up, saying how psyched they were for the big game, and then when the game is only 100 seconds old they go and screw up like that.

    To be fair, I think the lads made a reasonable effort to get back in to it, how many good efforts did we have that got blocked… quite a few. Goals change games and if we got it back to 1-1 then who knows. When Dawson came on you knew it was all over.

    Questions: What is Sherwood doing sitting up there? How is it that Liverpool defenders can intercept passes, block shots and crosses, yet up the other end Liverpool’s attempts got through almost untroubled? Why always Spurs?

    Liverpool didn’t even play amazingly well. 2 goals gifted in the first half, 3rd goal just sitting there inviting Coutinho to run at them and shoot “oh ok then why how very kind of you” and then another absolute schoolyard disaster for the 4th.

    4-0 looks like a total thrashing! Could have been 1-0, or 2-1; either scoreline would have been more deserved; 4-0 is just embarrassing, there they go, joke club THFC. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    1. AnythingButPenalties Post author

      Sherwood sitting in the stands confused me. Loved it when the fans started singing “Where is our manager?”. He said something about getting a better view of the game in interviews, but at 2-0 down, he should have come down for the second half.

      We seem to have a knack of turning a 1-0 / 2-0 into a thrashing this year.

  3. Pingback: Liverpool 4 Spurs 0 – Sherwood out? | Anything But Penalties

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